Saturday, April 23, 2016


April has been a blessed month. Earlier in it, Kenny came out to visit me and we explored Georgetown and did things there that I wouldn't(or couldn't afford to) do on my own. It really was a fun time and so nice to see her.

And earlier today my parents arrived to met me in Barbados for a short visit. The place we are staying is certainly off the beaten path but no matter what we do, it's just nice to see them and talk without losing half the conversation due to internet connectivity.
The parents on arrival:)

 It was also nice to be able to tell them in person about my apartment break-in back in December.

Now break-ins usually aren't seen as a blessing but mine truly was. I was drugged which was nice because it prevented me from waking up partway through the break-in and getting myself hurt trying to be heroic. Plus it provided just another opportunity for random acts of kindness. My laptop and bag, phone, camera and wallet were all stolen. My landlord gave me the laptop I'm currently using to type to use for the rest of my stay. Peace Corps was great about getting me some funds to cover some of my losses, Kenny bought me a new camera, another Peace Corps volunteer gave me a bag and my cousin Joey just sent down a new smart phone for me. So all told, I didn't really lose out on anything. Plus it was the impetus for my move to Georgetown which has been such a great experience. The work I'm going here is so much more rewarding and I think will be sustainable far after I leave.

It just goes to show that everything that happens, while in the moment, may seem bad, can turn out good if you give it time. Like grapes. Give it time and you get wine. Don't like wine. Just wait longer and you get vinegar:)

And while on the subject of blessed, let me tell you about my bus ride to the place we're staying in. So we rented through airbnb and the directions said get off at the last stop in Long Bay and the house will be 100yards up on your left. Well, I get off the bus, and mind you this is in the dark as all stories like this should be, and right before the door shuts I ask the driver: "So this is Long Bay Road?" To which he replied: "No, and which one are you looking for?"

Oh boy, wrong way Ferreira is at it again. "Errr, I don't know. The one in St. Philip?"

So, as to cut the dialogue short, come to find out there are multiple Long Bays and multiple Long Bay Roads and none were that close to where we were and to make matters worse I didn't have a street address number just the road. Great. I hand the written instructions I had(luckily) printed out to the driver to see if by reading them he could make out which road I should be on. He couldn't. BUT, he did recognize the name of the person from whom I was renting. So what does he do? He pulls out his phone and calls him! He figures out where he needs to drop me off and then takes the bus off-route to drop me off! Talk about blessed.

There are certainly many really really bad things that people do to each often for really pointless reasons. But there are just as many, nay more, good things that people do.

There are a lot of kind people in this world. If you can't find one, be one. 

I'll leave you there.

Until next time,


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Top 5 Drummers Who can Sing

In Guyana, there is no Pandora. So to listen to music, I resort to pulling up Youtube videos of the music I want to hear(to drown out the Soca and/or Chutney blaring everywhere). And I have been craving the Band like crazy lately and typically just find the lyrics video since it streams better. BUT I just saw a music video(maybe from the Last Waltz?) and saw the Levon Helm was playing the drums. Which I didn't realize was his instrument. Both my father and my cousin, Ryan, were(are?) really good drummers but(as far as I know) neither can sing(well). So it got me thinking how many good singers were also the bands'(no, not that band) drummer.
I came up with these guys:

1. Levon Helm(The Band)- I have loved the Band since I was a kid and my parents got me a mixed tape and one of the songs was Up On Cripple Creek. Well I have no musical talent of my own, I do have an appreciation for music and for that I can thank my parents for exposing me to some awesome music growing up. I  had no idea who they were but every song of theirs I liked/like:

2. Don Henley(The Eagles)- The Eagles are/were/are great and I also like Don Henley's solo stuff but I think he played guitar then.

3. Phil Collins(Genesis)- So the song here is actually when he's one his own because I like it alright! But he was singer/drummer for Genesis and also was drummer for Peter Gabriel's solo album I believe.

4. Dave Grohl(Drummer with Nirvana/singer with Foo Fighters)- So he's a little bit of a cheat but I wanted to put someone in Ringo. Dave's a great drummer but does his singing with a guitar as part of Foo Fighters.

5. Ringo Starr(The Beatles)- Well there had to be five right?
Then you've got a bunch of really talented musicians who can play the drums in addition to other instruments(have you seen Danger Mouse? He goes from instrument to instrument during concerts. Also I hear Prince who just passed away also would record each instrument in his songs himself during studio recordings). And what about Trent Reznor? Technically he's every band member of NIN right? Okay, anyway, there you have my list of the top five drummers who also could sing:)


Until Next Time,


Sunday, April 17, 2016

An Introduction to New Hampshire

As I mentioned recently, I have the ability to see from where around the world people are reading this blog. And as there has been a fair number of readers from Guyana, I figured it would be a good idea to achieve one of Peace Corps goals: foster a better understanding of the US-or at least of where I am from in the US.

So for those of you who don't know, I'm from New Hampshire. Yes that's in the US. But no it's not in Queens, nor in NYC at all. Amazingly the United States is not comprised of only two boroughs. In fact, there are actually other baseball teams besides the Yankees too.
Image result for anti yankees

But to confuse matters more, people from the southern parts of the US, may consider all Northerners Yankees.
And while I may seem a little flippant. I have had many Guyanese people ask me where in New York City I was from after hearing I was from the States. They are shocked to hear that I live further from New York City than they are from Brazil, Venezuela or Suriname-none of which they most likely have ever been.

Side Note: I know it was JFK's hope that Peace Corps volunteers "live like the locals" and that's why we aren't paid and get a food stipend equivalent to their minimum wage. But our pseudo-poverty is disingenuous. Any one of us at any point can pack it in and head home, usually to fairly comfortable careers. We are not stuck here, so to speak. That totally changes the mentality of our time here and doesn't have the same gravitas as if we were really living in abject poverty where there was no way out. Nor are we really living at the same level as many our in-country counterparts. For example, while I may get a food allowance equivalent to locals, my housing is covered, as is US-quality health care and a safety net in the form of Peace Corps staff. While I gave away or sold most of my stuff before I came down here, I had savings that allows me to do all the traveling that I have-something locals often will never do solely because of the expense of it.

So while I may sound flippant about the lack of geographic knowledge, there is good reason for that. But just because you may never go somewhere doesn't mean you shouldn't learn about it. None of us(that I know of) will ever visit the past and yet the depth of knowledge and wisdom you can gain by learning about it is immense.

So here's a little about New Hampshire

And there's NH. pretty close to NYC but you have to drive through MA and CT to get there.

I love New Hampshire. It has a little of everything. It has mountains that are an easy bus ride away. Oh that's right we have buses that have reclining seats, air conditioning, distinct seats, and toilets on board! And a bus from New York City to Boston is about 5x cheaper than one from Georgetown to Lethem.

Ohhhhh did you know that NYC is actually only a very small part of the State of New York which reaches all the way up to Canada? It even has a big waterfall of its own: Niagara. Not nearly as high as Kaieteur, it is quite a bit more powerful.

So back to New Hampshire. It has mountains that you can hike in the summer and ski in the winter. Skiing involves something you've also never seen: snow. It's like rain but colder and accumulates on the ground-kinda like Georgetown's puddles before they cleaned out the gutters. But just because there's snow on the ground doesn't mean you cannot have fun and certainly doesn't mean it's frigid outside. 
See! Shorts and snow! 
And you can hike the mountains year round and they are all easy enough to get to so you can do them in a day and still have time for a beer. The trails of New Hampshire will probably always make my top five hikes of the year. And the running scene is good here. There are four marathons, a half Ironman and literally hundreds of shorter races both on road and trail. And the quality of runners puts Guyana to shame(at least at the longer distances). That probably has something to do with the awful humidity in Guyana making it fairly undesirable to be running for several hours at a time. 
One of my favorite hike-no matter what time of year
Oh did I mention beer? Well that's probably because we have the New Hampshire Beer trail which is a series of microbreweries throughout the state. I haven't found one that I haven't liked. 
On the Brew Trail

We have a very small slice of ocean and it's almost as dark as yours but a dark blue because of particles in the water absorbing light not because of the silt from the Essiquibo River. 

Like in Guyana you can camp, but unlike Guyana where you sleep in a hammock to keep the bugs and water away and to get a nice breeze, most of the year if you camp it'll be in a tent with a sleeping bag. 
A big reason why New Hampshire is so important though is because most of my family lives nearby. Seriously how could you not love an area with kids like this: 

With those cuties within an easy drive, there's no reason to be anywhere else. But if you need more reasons, how about one of the US's most historical cities?

Within an hour of where I live is Boston a fairly small city by US standards but offers anything that you may want(minus rum shops). There is even a museum similar to the Castellani House in Georgetown called the Isabella Stewart Gardner house. It has a professional baseball(Red Sox), basketball(Celtics), hockey(Bruins) teams all right in the city and an American football team(Patriots) that is within 40 minutes. 

The town I live in only has about 30,000 people in it, but there are more police officers, and stop lights than all of Guyana. This makes running feel a lot safer not having to worry about whether a mini-bus will hit me to avoid slowing for oncoming traffic. 

The state of New Hampshire actually has almost the exact amount of people as the country of Guyana and may actually be more diverse which is amazing because New Hampshire is one of the more homogeneous states in the country. But that's the thing about the United States, it's really hard to generalize about the US "people" because we all come from different backgrounds, immigrated from different nations(not just West Africa or India) and may live farther apart from each other than you from Peruvians. 

So those are just some of the reasons why I love New Hampshire. But this year has also got me loving Guyana too and I think that might be the most important thing. If you can't be where you love, love where you are. 

Until next time,


Friday, April 15, 2016

5 Things I Hate About Myself

And sorry but this will not be a Julia Stiles-esque poem written to Heath Ledger... Which brings us to...

Top 5 Things I Hate About Myself:
  1. My social awkwardness and bad humor
  2. My profuse sweating
  3. My argumentativeness 
  4. My loud sneezing
  5. My frequent bathroom breaks
Okay so let's delve into each a little deeper. For off, I want to be clear that I don't have a bad sense of humor. I can sense what is funny and have a good appreciation. But just like my appreciation for music or art, I cannot reproduce it. It's so bad that I have created an acronym to decide whether to regale someone with a joke or "funny" story. It's WAL-Would Andrew Laugh? My brother Andrew is probably my most honest(albeit also harshest) critic of my poor jokes and story telling capabilities. If I'm about to tell a joke, I'll quickly run it through my head to see if Drew would laugh, crack a smile, or grimace. As most would result in a grimace, I've spared the world many a bad joke. No t quite a Rich Lavers' rubber chicken bad joke, but nearly. 

Nothing like sweating through your undershirt and dress shirt during work. I had almost forgotten how much I sweat until I came to Guyana where I'm literally sweating through my entire shirt. Like belly sweat, sweat through. To the point where I get comments from patients, and people start fanning me. I have resorted to thrice daily showers and three new sets of clothes per day. I have literally sweated through a pair of my sneakers. I gather a crowd of onlookers as I wring out my t-shirt after an easy run. 
My argumentativeness: Despite my sister's opinion to the contrary, I am not very opinionated. Meaning I don't have many beliefs or views that I am very passionate about. BUT where my problem lays is in my argumentativeness. If I come across someone who is very opinionated and passionate about a topic(even if it's one I perhaps agree with), I  will not suffer the slings and arms of outrageous beliefs and narrow-mindedness and take arms against them. I cannot help myself. If I hear someone start in on something so dogmatically and stubbornly that they clearly cannot see another's point of view, my variation of spider sense kicks in and take up the opposite side. No matter what. I've argued for and against the same topic when interacting with two equally stubborn people on the opposite ends of the spectrum. The problem is that I do no good. Someone whose opinions are so ingrained will never let someone else's "facts" sway them. They ignore information that doesn't confirm their thoughts and seek out like-minded people and information that does confirm it(hence confirmation bias). This really riles me up. But enough. I was telling you about things I don't like about myself not things I don't like about other people. To summarize: I don't like that I cannot help myself being argumentative in situations when I person is being blatantly over-zealous about something(anything).  

My loud sneezing. Okay so this is a weird one. I sneeze a lot and loudly. To the point where I startle small children and barnyard animals. And always at inopportune times. Like during moments of silence or immediately proceeding a handshake. 

My frequent bathroom breaks is actually probably my biggest thing I don't like about myself. It is socially awkward and just a plain annoyance. For as long as I can remember, I have gotten up about as frequently as a 70 year old male after prostate surgery which at one point prompted my mom to think I had diabetes. I didn't- I just pee a lot. Which makes car rides(or 18 hour bone jarring bus rides) somewhat less enjoyable. It also makes sleeping over someone's house a bit annoying since I am also amazingly good at finding that one squeaky floor board so inevitably wake everyone up. And, although I try to avoid bathroom talk in this blog, it also goes for number 2 as can be seen by my numerous marathon fails due to  bathroom related incidents. If I eat something my body doesn't agree with, it rejects it quicker than my advances to most females in early high-school. Surprisingly, no issues with fried food ;)

 So pretty much if I was with a group of people hiding from the SS in the attic, I'd be the one smothered to keep me from altering them to our presence with loud sneezes or urine tricking through the ceiling. Graphic I know but please see #1.

But are these negative attributes really weaknesses?  For example, my social awkwardness and bad humor might make people feel sorry for me(especially when combined with my inability to pronounce words and my slightly lazy eye, numbers 9 and 6, respectively). This could then result in people trusting me and allowing me to help them in ways others may not be able. And my very efficient sneezing and frequent bathroom breaks may help me ward off sickness as I cannot remember the last time I was sick, beyond a baby cold or self-induced nausea(see the Triple Coronary Bypass, Royal Ti Punch, the Double Death by Burger etc). AND I just read that sweating is a sign of increased fitness and efficiency. My point that the very things that we don't like about ourselves may actually be strengths not weakness and we should love and appreciate all aspects of ourselves. Well at least the ones we cannot change. I'll still utilize the WAL technique and try not to argue so defensively:)

There is a Peace Corps saying: "A pessimist seeing the glass as half empty, an optimist as half full and a Peace Corps Volunteer sees the glass and says "hey, I can take a bath in that!'" Maybe the key to being happy in life(at least with ourselves) is not focusing on our weaknesses but turning them into strengths.

Until Next Time,


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Where's Ambo? or What Irongirl Has Been Up To!

So if you've been following the 2016 Irongirl and Ultrarunning Boy's blog postings, you will have noticed Irongirl has been conspicuously absent from them. But don't despair! She's still out there.

While I have been getting lost all over the Caribbean and South America, Amber has been steadily doing work. After all, her coaching team's motto is DO WORK. But to say that she's just been training would be unfair. She has had quite the winter.

A slip on ice resulted in a fractured tailbone which laid her up for most of January.

A broken ass

She got back just in time to race an indoor 3K only to find out she had pneumonia. (She still ran). And  her house apparently didn't have insulation in half of it so she and her friends spent some busy weekends gutting, installing and re-dry-walling half her house.

Oh! And she was on pace to win a half marathon, only to trip over a cone, landing flat on her face(she still came in fourth).And she's the only professional triathlete that I'm aware of that also has a "real" job.

So sufficient sand-bagging in place for her:)

This weekend marks her 2016 triathlon debut at Texas 70.3 in Galveston TX.This was actually her first ever race as a professional triathlete and she is looking for some redemption.

I suspect she'll get it.

Follow her at on April 10th and make sure to send her all of your good vibes.

Oh and if you haven't read Eric Larsen's Isaac's Storm yet about the Galveston Hurricane, I suggest you do. It is a good read!

Until Next Time,


PS Here's the starting list of all the pro females. Once again, Amber has opted not to shy away from competing against the best in the world(by my count that's 38 competitors):

  • 60 Frederiksen Helle Female DNK (Denmark) 
  • 61 Lidbury Emma-Kate Female GBR (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) 
  • 62 Williamson Kelly Female USA (United States of America)
  • 63 Haskins Sarah Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 64 Jones Meyers Jessica Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 65 Lyles Liz Female USA (United States of America)
  • 66 Anelauskas Kaitlin Female USA (United States of America)
  • 67 Keat Rebekah Female AUS (Australia) 
  • 68 Stevens Amanda Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 69 Bromme Uli Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 70 Barnett Lauren Female USA (United States of America)
  • 71 Seymour Jeanni Female ZAF (South Africa)
  • 72 Baugher Liz Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 73 Thibodeau Karen Female CAN (Canada) 
  • 74 Bay Sarah Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 75 Standifer Caitlin Female USA (United States of America
  • 76 Blakemore Katy Female USA (United States of America)
  • 77 Smith Lesley Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 78 Brown Christen Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 79 Schaerer Celine Female CHE (Switzerland) 
  • 80 Bugdol Ewa Female POL (Poland) 
  • 81 Rouleau Isabelle Female CAN (Canada) 
  • 82 Casey Terry Female USA (United States of America)
  • 83 Robertson Jodie Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 84 Chong Jessica Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 85 Pomeroy Robin Female USA (United States of America)
  • 86 Donat Camille Female FRA (France) 
  • 87 Philipp Laura Female DEU (Germany)
  • 88 Ferreira Amber Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 89 Miller Leslie Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 90 Fillnow Kelly Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 91 Luse Nickie Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 92 Hachmeister Ericka Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 93 Leiggi Heather Female USA (United States of America) 
  • 94 Harari Lotty Female PAN (Panama) 
  • 95 Kristick Corrie Female USA (United States of America)
  • 96 Hill Alycia Female USA (United States of America)
  • 97 Huse Sue Female CAN (Canada) 
  • 98 Javens Amy Female USA (United States of America)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Fire in the Hole! or Guyanese Fire Cider

"The contents of this [blog] are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or the Peace Corps."

So all my travels have apparently caught up with me. I am run down. An annoying cough, a rash and the sniffles. This is probably the first time I've been in any form of ill in many many years. And I'm impatient and wanna be better NOW! Now, Now!

How can you speed up recovering from a viral infection like a cold? Well, besides the typical: stay hydrated, decrease stress and increase sleep, there's not much you can do. Supposedly. But I'm a fan of herbal remedies in these instances of body weakness. So here's what I do. I make fire cider.

What is fire cider? Well only the best tasting drink you can only(if you wanna be socially acceptable) drink when sick. I'd drink it all the time but I always forget about it except when my body tells me to pay attention to it.

Here is the typical recipe:
  1. ½ cup peeled and shredded/diced ginger root
  2. ½ cup peeled and shredded/diced horseradish root
  3. ½ cup white onion, chopped
  4. ¼ cup minced or crushed garlic cloves
  5. 2  jalapeno peppers, chopped
  6. Zest and juice from 2  lemons
  7. Raw apple cider vinegar
So here's the problem. At Bourda market, where I do my shopping I couldn't find horseradish and I'm pretty sure this country doesn't have jalapenos. And raw apple cider vinegar wasn't anywhere to be seen. 

So my recipe is: 
  • 1 cup of ginger root
  • 1/2 cup minced garlic cloves
  • 4 Wiri Wiri Peppers*
  • 1 lemon
  • White wine vinegar
I skipped the white onion because I didn't think of it until I get home. It is a good flavor enhancer and according to wikipedia: "The phytochemicals in onions along with their vitamin C help improve immunity. Onions contain chromium, which assists in regulating blood sugar. For centuries, onions have been used to reduce inflammation and heal infections." Maybe I should have kept it in the recipe! 

*Okay so I had to look this up. I didn't know what the little red peppers were called until I looked it. I like that name: wiri wiri:) This is the pepper that is the basis for the sauce called pepper in Guyana. They are definitely hotter than jalapenos and usually I'll use 2-3 of them when cooking. BUT I'm sick dang it! I need to get better sooner... So 4 got thrown in. 

Shake it all up and let sit for a bit then you're ready.

Some people will put it over a salad or use in a tea but I just went ahead and gulped it! AWWWWWWWWW! I am have momentarily turned into a dragon. That is wasn't fire cider so much as flames of hell vinegar.
So after recovering from my initial guzzle, I slowed to sips and finished it-by the end quite enjoying it.

I decided to look up just exactly what those peppers were made of. Again, thanks to wikipedia, I found out that m
ost Wiri Wiris have a heat rating of 100,000–350,000 Scoville units. This is compared to a jalapeno which a rating of 2,500- 8,000! 

Hot! Be warned:)

So that's it. I am already feeling better. Maybe the key when sick is to make yourself feel worse and then when you return to still sick state, you feel better by comparison:)

Until next time,


Friday, April 1, 2016

Hello, Norway!

For those of you who have never used blogger before, it's part of Google and with that you get Google Analytics that allows you to look at who's reading your blog. For me, it pretty much tells me which blogs best(and worst) read. The problem with that is it doesn't give enough info into the reasons why(i.e. did I publish it at an inopportune time of day or was the title not interesting? or something else altogether). But it also allows me to see where around the world are people reading this blog.

So this is what my pageview by country data looks like:
Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
United States
United Kingdom

Of course, US way out in the lead, but second place going to Norway? Really? Norway? Well in fairness, I did write a paragraph about Norseman as one of the world's hardest endurance events but I cannot imagine that my blog comes up high when googling that. Maybe just a bunch of dedicated readers of a mediocre runner? Or just interested in how many times I can get lost? Well, either way, Norway, I won't let you down. Here's my promise to you that I'll continue to run and get lost :)

And here's a little tribute to Norway:

While I've never been to Norway(or the Way Leading North), I have been to both Iceland and parts of Ireland including Dublin and Limerick were founded by Norwegians. Also did you know that, partly because of the Black Death, Norway was actually part of Denmark for almost 500 years, just ending that union in 1814? That didn't really end Norway's forced unions with other countries however, as Sweden soon took over the reigns until 1905! That's really amazing considering the long and really cool history that it had prior to the Denmark, and then Swedish, unions.

And I didn't know that Norway extends further north than Sweden so it actually borders both Finland and Russia. And it's good a fairly sustainable economy with plenty of natural resources(produces the most oil outside of the Middle East). AND it is perennially ranked as one of the highest nations in the Human Development Index looking at health and quality of life. All and all it seems like a good country to visit, or live. Plus it's beautiful:)

I have always wanted to go to Norway so if any of you readers out there can provide a home-stay maybe I'll re-enter the world of triathlon by attempting the Norseman :)

Until next time,